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Hawaiki gains partner in Pacific cable bid with more investment expected

US$300 million trans-Pacific cable plan gains support from private New Zealand investment company.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor

Hawaiki Cable has gained an equity partner to support its plans for a new trans-Pacific cable linking Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Hawaiki has inked an agreement to form a partnership with SIL Long Term Holdings - the family investment company of Sir Eion Edgar - to lay the US$300 million, 25 Tb/s cable by the end of 2017.

Sir Eion said the sum invested was "substantial" but also confidential.

He told ZDNet other parties were also looking at investing. Changes to Hawaiki's shareholdings on the NZ Companies Office register would appear when all of the investment was finalised.

Sir Eion is a well-known New Zealand businessman and chairman of Dunedin-based stockbroking and investment firm Forsyth Barr. SIL is as an investor in a number of other ventures.

Rémi Galasso, chief executive of Hawaiki Cable, said capacity contracts with New Zealand customers, including research network REANNZ, were the first cornerstone of the project while the investment from the Edgar family demonstrates the company's commitment and ability to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure.

Sir Eion Edgar said: the Hawaiki project represents major progress for the connectivity of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

"This cable will not only provide faster and better internet, but will also significantly enhance the security of our data connection to the globe and, ultimately, improve the everyday life of our communities," he said.

He said the family endeavours to support and invest in projects that make sound business sense and also contribute to New Zealand society, in particular in the areas of health and education.

Auckland-based Hawaiki Cable, is planning to land its cable in Whangarei, Sydney, Oahu and Pacific City, on the US west coast.

In December, incumbent telcos Spark, Vodafone and Telstra announced their own plans for a new US$70 million trans-Tasman cable.

In June, Hawaiki appointed French bank Natixis to help it find investors for the project.

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